Scripture Verse

Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34


Richard W. Adams

Words: Ri­chard W. Ad­ams, 2001.

Music: Me­li­ta John B. Dykes, 1860 (🔊 pdf nwc).

John B. Dykes


This hymn was writ­ten in res­ponse to the des­truct­ion of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York Ci­ty.

Its first known pub­lic per­form­ance was March 19, 2006, at the Com­mun­i­ty Co­ve­nant Church, Oma­ha, Ne­bra­ska, where it was sung by so­lo­ist Mi­chael Ly­on, ac­com­pan­ied by his wife, mu­sic min­is­try di­rect­or Kris­tin Ly­on.


How shall we answer terror’s cry,
The cunning blade, the flaming sky?
When murderous spite knocks down our door
And violence breaks upon our shore,
O let us come and look to You
To know Your will—what shall we do?

When Satan whispers, Hate your foe,
Now take your vengeance—draw the bow,

Protect us from the tempter’s guile,
The lying voice, the evil smile.
O let us come in trust to You,
To hear the word we know is true.

When executioners hung You high
You turned Your prayer up to the sky,
And pled the Father to forgive,
You asked that cruel men might live.
O let us Your example take,
And pray for sinners as we ache.

We pray that You their hearts will turn;
And light a holy fire to burn
Their dross away, so they may be
Like gold refined, eternally.
O let us pray that they become,
Like us, with You forever one.